Kyler Murray. Heisman winner. Multi-millionaire. First-round baseball player. Almost assuredly a first-round football pick if he declared his intention to play that sport. That's a whole lot of sports skill in one body, no?
Jerry Jones. OK, the folks that said a first-rounder was too much for Amari Cooper — and that's a large team picture friends — likely owe Jerry Jones and the Cowboys an apology. Since coming to Dallas for the first-rounder, Cooper has been aces and the Cowboys have looked like a contender.
NFL defense. OK, it has been a month since the Chiefs-Rams pinball game on a Monday that sent everyone to bed with visions of Madden scores and Arena League stats. Well, since then, we have — in prime time in the last two weeks, mind you — watched Dallas frustrate Drew Brees and the Saints and Chicago handcuff Sean McVay and the Rams.
Everyone who watched the Army-Navy game. That was fun friends.
Aaron Rodgers. Yes, been a tough week for the best QB I've ever seen. Words and phrases like 'spoiled' and 'prima donna' have been used. Well words and phrases like 'all-timer' and 'greatness' also need to be used. Rodgers has now thrown an NFL record 368 consecutive passes without an interception. Yes, Falcons linebacker Deion Jones dropped a very intercept-able ball Sunday, but still. That's an amazing mark. Rodgers has not thrown an INT since week four against Buffalo and has 23 TDs and that lone interception this season.
Tennessee hoops. What a win. Admiral Schofield's late barrage of 3s — including a banker from the top-of-the-key — lifted the Vols to a mighty impressive 76-73 win over previous No. 1 Gonzaga. There's no more debate, if this UT bunch stays injury-free, the Vols are no worse than a 2 seed and a real threat to reach the first Final Four in program history.
The hubbub about Kyler Murray's Twitter. OK, hold on to your horses, but a 14- and 15-year-old kid tweeted something he regrets. Nuts, right? OK, in the hours after Murray won the Heisman, some 'investigative' journalist revealed that Murray had several Tweets several years ago in which he called friends and others 'queers.' Yep, that's it. (And why said 'investigative' journalist waited until after the Heisman is not a good look either.) Hey, someone is going to be offend about almost anything these days, and I'm not in the business of telling anyone what should and should not offend anyone. Spend your whole time being wound up and bent out of shape about something someone Tweeted someplace some time in the last decade. Go crazy with it. But man, making a deal out of this really seems petty and it also really devalues the real instances of hate or bigotry that should be scorned and deserve outrage, no? Remember the boy that cried wolf? Well, the society that repeatedly cries this 'ism' or that one is in peril of repeating that mistake.
Patriots last-play defense. Wow. How about that? Before Sunday — when the Dolphins converted a 69-yard pass-lateral-lateral touchdown for a 34-33 win — the Patriots were 58-1 since 2001 when leading in the final 10 seconds. Yet another example of the LeBatard Show reference of "Football" about the crazy things that happen on Sundays.
Hall of Fame credibility. OK, last year the "Today's Game Committee," which is some sort of PR-imagined name for what used to be the Veteran's committee elected Jack Morris and Alan Trammell to the Hall of Fame. I'm OK with Morris because there should be added value for being the best big-game player of your generation, and Morris was that. I still think Trammell is a reach — dude made six All-Star teams and finished in the top five of the MVP voting once — but he looks like a mix of Cal Ripken and Ozzie Smith with the news that Harold Baines was admitted to Cooperstown by the TGC. Harold Baines? Seriously? Dude, take that weak sauce somewhere else. And this is a big fat middle finger to the voting writers. (Baines never got more than 6.1 percent of votes when he was on the main ballot; he also was on the ballot as recently as 2011 and received less than five percent, which begs the question in the seven years since, what has changed?) This is rare, but I am at a loss for words, so we'll post these numbers without names and let you decide:
Candidate 1: .289 batting average, .356 on-base percentage, 384 homers, 1,628 RBIs, 38.7 WAR, 6 all-star teams in 22 years; led league in slugging once; Best MVP finish was ninth; zero Gold Gloves (in fact, not sure if he actually owned a glove).
Candidate 2: .265 average, .346 on-base percentage, 398 homers, 1,266 RBIs, 46.5 WAR, 7 all-star teams in 18 years; led the league in runs once, homers twice, RBIs twice, slugging twice, OPS once; two-time MVP and five-time Gold Glove winner.
Candidate 3: .313 average, .400 on-base percentage, 383 homers, 1,311 RBIs, 72.7 WAR, 5 all-star teams in 17 years; led league in batting three times, on-base twice, slugging twice, homers once, MVP and seven-time Gold Glove winner.
Candidate 4: .254 average, .337 on-base percentage, 434 homers, 1,289 RBIs, 62.8 WAR, 5 all-star teams in 17 years; led league in homers and RBIs, MVP runner-up and MLB Player of the Year once and 10-time Gold Glove winner.
Candidate 5: .284 average, .377 on-base percentage, 493 homers, 1,550 RBIs, 52.8 WAR, 5 all-star teams in 18 years; led the league in homers twice, five top-10 MVP finishes.
Can you pick Harold Baines out of that crowd? Yes, he's No. 1 and has a worse resume than 2) Dale Murphy, 3) Larry Walker, 4) Andruw Jones or 5) Fred McGriff. So the TGC, which has 16 voters — 12.5 percent of whom are Jerry Reinsdorf (who owned the White Sox when Baines played there) and Tony LaRussa (who managed Baines in Chicago and Oakland) — just amazingly lowered the standard for the entire process. Wow.
My FCS playoff picks. We went bagel-and-2 with our off-the-cuff FCS playoff picks last week. So it goes. We hit Army minus-6.5. We went 3-1 on the NFL picks. So there's that.
Pittsburgh Steelers. There are tough losses and there are bad losses. Then there losses to the Raiders that put your playoff positioning in serious doubt.
The relationship between the Redskins and the Redskins fans. This is a situation that has no winners friends. The players are bemoaning the booing. But when you are down 34-0 to the Giants at halftime, booing seems to be the only response, no?
Bowling for Bowl Success
We'll get to the contest in just a second.
Couple of updates:
First, pay attention to details like these. https://sports.yahoo.com/college-football-players-sitting-bowl-games-2018-210123415.html Yes, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier has announced he is sitting out the bowl game against Syracuse to get ready for the draft. According to that list linked, he is the 10th high-profile player to say "Thanks but no thanks" to the bowl invite. Here's betting that number grows.
Secondly, gang, thanks for the great interest in the Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success (Bowler Optional). Just a few days into this and with a full week before the deadline, we already have more than 40 entries. I will post the names I have so far tomorrow to make sure everyone is on the same page.
The rules are simple. Please submit your picks before Dec. 15. (That's a week from Saturday, Spy.) One entry per person. Feel free to share with friends and family. We are picking the games against the spreads listed below. If there's massive line movement between now and kickoff time, well, that's part of the charm of Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success (Bowler optional).
Also, a correct pick gets those points; no lost points for incorrect picks. We will do all the bowl games so that everyone has at least some tangental interest in every game.
And since there is no hat required, let's remain casual and enjoy the process. (Copyright Nick Saban.)
One-point games (max of 6 points)
Autonation Cure Bowl: Tulane (-3.5) vs. Louisiana
New Mexico Bowl: Utah State (-9.5) vs. Texas State
Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State (-4.5) vs. Arizona State
Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern (-1.5) vs. Eastern Michigan
New Orleans Bowl: App State (-7.5) vs. MTSU
Boca Raton Bowl: UAB (-1.5) vs. Northern Illinois
Two-point games (max of 14 points)
Frisco Bowl: San Diego State (-3.5) vs. Ohio
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Marshall (-1.5) vs. South Florida
Bahamas Bowl: FIU (-5.5) vs. Toledo
Idaho Potato Bowl: BYU (-11.5) vs. Western Michigan
Birmingham Bowl: Memphis (-4.5) vs. Wake Forest
Armed Forces Bowl: Army (-3.5) vs. Houston
Dollar General Bowl: Buffalo vs Troy, pick 'em
Hawaii Bowl: Hawaii (-1.5) vs. La. Tech
Three-point games (max of 21 points)
First Responder Bowl: Boise State (-3.5) vs. Boston College
Quick Lane Bowl: Georgia Tech (-4.5) vs. Minnesota
Cheez-It Bowl: California vs. TCU, pick 'em
Independence Bowl: Temple (-3.5) vs. Duke
Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (-3.5) vs. Wisconsin
Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas Bowl: Vandy (-3.5) vs. Baylor
Arizona Bowl: Arkansas State (-1.5) vs. Nevada
Four-point games (max of 28 points)
Camping World Bowl: West Virginia (-4.5) vs. Syracuse
Alamo Bowl: Washington State (-3.5) vs. Iowa State
Belk Bowl: South Carolina (-3.5) vs. Virginia
Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech, pick 'em
Sun Bowl: Stanford (-6.5) vs. Pittsburgh
Red Box Bowl: Oregon (-2.5) vs. Michigan State
Holiday Bowl: Utah (-6.5) vs. Northwestern
Five-point games (max of 45 points)
Music City Bowl: Auburn (-3.5) vs. Purdue
Chick-Fil-A Bowl: Michigan (-7.5) vs. Florida
Liberty Bowl: Missouri (-7.5) vs. Oklahoma State
Gator Bowl: Texas A&M (-4.5) vs. NC State
Outback Bowl: Mississippi State (-6.5) vs. Iowa
Citrus Bowl: Penn State (-6.5) vs. Kentucky
Rose Bowl: THE Ohio State (-6.5) vs. Washington
Fiesta Bowl: LSU (-7.5) vs. UCF
Sugar Bowl: Georgia (-10.5) vs. Texas
Eight-point games (max of 16 points)
Cotton Bowl: Clemson (-11.5) vs. Notre Dame
Orange Bowl: Alabama (-13.5) vs. Oklahoma
For a 10 point bonus: (Pick the winner of the national championship; no spreads, just the winner).
If we need a tie-breaker going into the title game, we'll come up with one.
This and that
— To close the circle, Lee Smith was a unanimous pick of the Today's Game Committee. And truth be told, according the eye test, Lee Smith was a Hall of Famer. When that dude came into the game, lights out man. And he may be the single most intimidating closer of all-time.
— Not the Falcons. Sure, it looks like that bunch is phoning it in. Borderline quitting in fact. But, for those of us who want a higher pick, losing is winning. Now the plethora of self-inflicted penalties and the appearance of quitting by some, well, that does not bode well for the on-field leadership. Big chance to really move up the draft boards next week at home against Arizona.
— Auburn hired Kenny Dillingham as its offensive coordinator but announced that Gus Malzahn will go back to calling the plays for the Tigers. Side note: Nothing screams confidence in a hire like releasing the news and a statement at 11 p.m. Sunday night, right guys. There are dumpster fires outside Indian food restaurants in Detroit looking at the Auburn football situation and muttering, "Wow, that looks bad."
— Sports betting numbers in Mississippi to be released later this month will show that more than $44 million in total bets were made in November. To no one's surprise the vast majority of those were on local college football teams and the NFL's Saints. That number was more than a third larger than the $33 million handled in October.
— The Mocs won their SoCon basketball opener Sunday. Not sure if you saw the highlights, but buckets, there were plenty of good sections available.
— We just saw this that Jeff Styles returned to Chattanooga airwaves this morning. This will be interesting to follow.
— Here's the ESPN college football All-American team. Thoughts?
Weekend winners and losers. Discuss.
Here's one that is both rhetorical and ready for response: Man, how happy are you that the mistakes and stupid decisions your 14- or 15-year-old self made are not living on Twitter or video somewhere? Yep, me too.
As for today, Dec. 10, let's explore.
Today is Dewey Decimal System Day, the Festival for the Souls of Dead Whales Day, Green Monday and Human Rights Day.
The Nobel Prize was awarded to MLK on this day in 1964, Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 and Bob Dylan on this day two years ago.
Huckleberry Finn was published on this day in 1884.
As for Birthdays, well, there are a few.
We'll go here: Raven Symone is 32 today. Yes, she played little Olivia on The Cosby Show.
Rushmore of TV kid stars. (Pre-teens for sure.) Go and remember the contest.